I’m Mary Fran. And I’m pretty much the coolest cyborg you’ll ever meet.

Being part robotic is why I started this project. You see, for the past 2.5 years, I have been telling my story as it relates to food on the blog FrannyCakes. I started by writing about the food. And then I started to talk about real things. Life things. Broken heart things. And while I am pretty much an open book, there was a big part of my life kept hidden.

I was in a daily battle for my body, and I was sure I was on the losing side.

about mary fran wiley

In 2009, I was diagnosed with a rare, progressive and incurable neurological condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and that diagnosis started a circus of treatments, specialists and surgeries. But outside my family and a few (maybe 3) close friends, no one knew anything more than I was less available.

Well, no one knew until I broke my silence, and I only did that because of a rude tweet that caught me on a particularly bad day.

In October 2011, I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted. It required weekly charging and had a remote control to operate it. In April 2013, I had to have it replaced because the original surgery was botched. At least now I only have to charge every 2 weeks…

Since my diagnosis I have undergone 27 epidural nerve blocks, 1 Bier Block, a 6-week spinal infusion, 3 ketamine infusions and 2 spinal cord stimulator implants. There have been numerous rounds of physical therapy and a drug cabinet filled to the brim with crushed hopes.

Add all of this health crap to a single lady just trying to get through her twenties. It is a lot to handle. So, I dealt the only way I knew how. I buried myself in creating. I started a food blog as a repository for my recipes, which worked for a while. But as things got worse and treatment after treatment failed, my brain became a dark place.

On that day that I finally broke my silence, a dear friend suggested that I needed a way to channel the pain into a positive. I started a poster series of quotes that spoke to how I was feeling. Eventually those turned into this project, which I hope you will follow.

They helped me get back to defining myself as someone who has a disease and not a disease that had a body.

These days, I am still fighting for my body, and I probably always will be. But I know who I am.

I am an award-winning web designer. A polyglot with a serious case of wanderlust. A dreamer. A photographer. A friend. A crazy cat lady who made her cat a tumblr. A secret nerd and obsessive consumer of tweets. A pretend ginger and most definitely the coolest cyborg you will ever meet.

And now, I am a cyborg who dances.

I started on a whim after a successful treatment in early 2015. Ballet mostly. Three days a week. When I can push through the pain, I even do yoga, tap and barre classes. I wanted to get fit again. CRPS took my life away and my hope away for so long and I gained 80 pounds. So now, I am working my way to moving again. Getting strong again no matter how bad the pain gets. And I am doing it with a soundtrack and choreography.

I would very much like to get to know you. I tweet (a lot), I pin (mostly food), I obsessively document (pictures are fun!), I dribbble (design-y things), I plus one (virtual Google high-fives) and I really love email.